Almost every day, whilst walking our beagle named Amber, we pass in our village (or small town as it likes to be called these days) an ancient walnut tree. According to research, the tree could date from the 1600’s and is an important landmark in this area. It was a focal point for travellers heading south towards London and was also used for many years as a meeting place for villagers seeking work from employers in the town. Sadly, however, due to its longevity and weakened by years of neglect and severe weather, only two branches remain today. It’s so sad to see it in its current state but, I noticed today, that the sparse high twigs are, indeed, once again in leaf and so there remains a tiny amount of life, which is so nice to see.
There is a lot of ‘medic speak’ these days about the benefits of nuts in our diet and walnuts do, I am told, have a good amount of antioxidant but, putting that aside, I have always enjoyed the flavour and texture of nuts and they are especially good in baking. This week I made an Apple and Walnut cake and the sweetness from the apples and the crunch of the walnuts makes it a very pleasurable afternoon treat with a cup of tea, or it can be warmed and served with cream following a meal. If you would like the recipe, just ‘comment’ below.
In the meantime, I will continue to walk past the old gnarled walnut tree in Higham Ferrers and hope that it finds the strength to actually produce a few fruits for those that live by it; and admire its willingness to brave the elements for so many centuries.